AMMO 411

THE MAG­I­CAL LOAD

Gun World - - Contents -

BULLSEYE IS THE OLD­EST SMOKELESS POW­DER IN CON­TIN­U­OUS PRO­DUC­TION. IN­TRO­DUCED IN 1898, IT IS A FAST-BURN­ING FLAKE POW­DER THAT CAN BE VERY ECO­NOM­I­CAL TO USE.

My 9mm up­date came in the 1990s. I had first tried to reload the 9mm Para­bel­lum in the mid-1970s. In 21st-cen­tury par­lance, “the tech­nol­ogy wasn’t ma­ture.”

By the early 1990s, I sud­denly found my­self with a bunch of 9mms, de­spite be­ing a con­firmed .45 ACP fan. I asked Bob, our then-VP of the IPSC gun club (who was feed­ing his two sons buck­ets of 9mm ammo for their com­pet­i­tive ef­forts), what to load 9mm with.

“4.2 grains of Bullseye,” was his re­sponse.

“OK; what bul­let?”

“Any. It doesn’t mat­ter.”

And that’s how I came to dis­cover the mag­i­cal load.

Bullseye is the old­est smokeless pow­der in con­tin­u­ous pro­duc­tion. In­tro­duced in 1898, it is a fast-burn­ing flake pow­der that can be very eco­nom­i­cal to use. It is my un­der­stand­ing that Al­liant has a sam­ple of the first pro­duc­tion lot in stor­age, and they oc­ca­sion­ally pull a small amount to test it. It still works just fine.

BUMP­ING UP THE POWER FAC­TOR

The load Bob was crank­ing out by the lit­eral buck­et­load was 4.2 grains of Bullseye over a 125-grain, lead round-nose (LRN). The load de­liv­ers a 125-grain bul­let at 1,050 to 1,075 fps, which makes Mi­nor with a com­fort­able mar­gin yet does not cre­ate ex­ces­sive re­coil. It does cre­ate smoke, so if you want to load bul­lets for match use or avoid the smoke, sub­sti­tute plated or coated 125-grain bul­lets, and you’ll be fine.

The pow­der charge just doesn’t care. Jack­eted, plated, cast or swaged lead, or coated, any 125-grain bul­let is go­ing to be go­ing a bit more than mid-1,000 fps and not more than 1,100 fps. You want a sub­sonic load to feed your sup­pressed pis­tol? Just re­place the 125-grain bul­let with a 147-grain one. For sup­pres­sor use, I’d avoid the cast or swaged lead bul­let, just to keep the clean­ing down. So, a jack­eted, plated or coated 147-grain, and you’ll be do­ing 925 to 950 fps.

If you wish, this can also be your prac­tice or com­pe­ti­tion load, even though you have had a bump up in power fac­tor (PF). PF is a mea­sure of mo­men­tum, so you gain more with more weight, de­spite the slight de­crease in ve­loc­ity.

You won’t even have to change the seat­ing die in your load­ing press for over­all length. What­ever it is for the 125 LRN, it will work for the 147 PRN. If you use a flat-nose bul­let, use that de­sign seater for each weight.

FOR NEW­BIES

Here’s where it gets re­ally in­ter­est­ing. Sup­pose you want to in­tro­duce a new­bie to shoot­ing. You’re afraid the re­coil of a stan­dard 9mm load might spook them. Sub­sti­tute a plated 115-grain—or even a 100-grain bul­let—for the 125-grain and load up. No change in pow­der.

You’ll get 1,100 fps or a bit more with the lighter bul­lets. The muz­zle blast will be about as in­of­fen­sive as you can pos­si­bly make it, and a new shooter is not likely to be put off by this.

You can go even lower in weight. Hor­nady makes a 90-grain XTP bul­let, and—stuffed over the same pow­der charge— it will zip out of the muz­zle at 1,100 fps or a bit more. It is re­ally soft in re­coil, so you might find that it doesn’t cy­cle your pis­tol. In­stall a softer re­coil spring.

How­ever, the felt re­coil is re­ally soft. A .22LR with a 40-grain bul­let at 1,000 fps posts a PF of 40. A 9mm with a 90-grain bul­let at 1,100 fps is a PF of 99. For a new shooter, that com­pares fa­vor­ably to our stan­dard load, which posts a PF of 125 to 130. As an in­ter­me­di­ate step be­tween the rimfire-power and fac­to­ry­power 9mm loads, 4.2 grains of Bullseye with lighter bul­lets make for a good tran­si­tion. And there are no prob­lems with accuracy; it is more than ac­cu­rate enough for plink­ing pur­poses.

BULK BUL­LET BUY­ING

Then, there is the econ­omy.

At 4.2 grains per shot, a pound of Bullseye is good for slightly more than 1,600 rounds. If you buy in bulk—and you should—an 8-pound keg of Bullseye, 10,000 primers and 10,000 plated 100or 115-grain bul­lets (you use range brass 9mm to load in. There’s no lack of that for free at the gun club), and your am­mu­ni­tion costs you $140 per thou­sand, plus your time. Steel-cased fac­tory ammo starts above that, and ev­ery­thing else goes up in price even more. All those are at a 130 PF or stouter, not the su­per-soft 100 PF ammo you’re load­ing for you and your new shooter.

And there’s a bonus: If you want to go up, you can. The max load for a 115-grain bul­let and Bullseye is 5.1 grains with a Speer plated, round-nose 115 at slightly fewer than 1,200 fps. Magic. GW

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit Al­liantPow­der.com

YOU WANT A SUB­SONIC LOAD TO FEED YOUR SUP­PRESSED PIS­TOL? JUST RE­PLACE THE 125-GRAIN BUL­LET WITH A 147-GRAIN ONE.

I The shape of the 125-grain lead bul­let doesn’t change things. Seat it to the proper length for feed­ing, and you are good to go.

I For a sub­sonic load to feed your sup­pressed pis­tol, re­place the 125-grain bul­let with a 147-grain one.

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